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Rewatching Supernatural episodes from the beginning of season 9 has been an eye-opening experience for me. Personally, I had not realized how very different Sam and Dean felt and acted before life-changing events soon crush them. It is frankly refreshing to see them smile and talk to each other. Their body language is relaxed and hopeful. They have conversations, not fights. They live together, instead of bristling at the sight of each other (first Sam when he resented Dean’s decision, then Dean when he resented Sam’s interference with the desired killing spree). When I watched it happening for the first time, I couldn’t have realized the immense impact of Gadreel's betrayal, or three crucible moments: Sam learning he had been possessed (by a murderer), Kevin being killed, and Dean (in desperate guilt) taking on the Mark of Cain.  For now, I am thoroughly enjoying the pre-betrayal Sam, Dean and Cas. I am happy to watch their innocence for a few more weeks. From the observations of the rest of the Winchester Family Business writing team, I think they agree.
Supernatural 9x06 1066

Nightsky

Overall

There were so many wonderful messages in this episode. I really enjoyed it. Layers upon layers in everyone’s dialogue. It advanced many of the season’s storylines (namely, reopening Heaven’s gates, the war to control Hell, Castiel’s humanity and addiction) while still sharing a generous number of heart-warming moments between Sam and Dean, Dean and Cas and in Castiel’s acceptance of himself.

Random Thoughts

The footnotes in the Angel Tablet contain references to angels falling, yet the writers didn’t really do anything with all those angel tablet leads. At this point in the episode, I suspect that storyline will be restarted in season 10 (my opinion was shaken a bit later in the episode, as I discuss below)

I am shocked every time Kevin appears in an episode. Really. His first scene in the past few episodes jolted my mind. Everything seems so normal, like the first half hour in a disaster movie. I hadn’t realized how completely I had accepted the post-Kevin reality.

Dean to Cas:  “So? I’ve never had powers.” Foreshadowing, or just a lucky line? Dean will soon have powers that he will perhaps wish he didn’t have.                                                                                                      

Cas: “The ebb and flow of human emotion – Dean, I’ve been on earth for a few years and I’ve only begun to grasp it.” Our interpretation of shows is always filtered by the events in our own lives – our current mood, worries, etc. Tonight I was particularly struck by the theme of the struggle that teens endure as they try to understand the ebb and flow of their own emotions. That distraught girl that got jilted in front of the whole school was overwhelmed with embarrassment and humiliation. Castiel’s experience with human emotions is also very pubescent. He watched strangers to learn behaviors. He misinterpreted Nora’s intentions (although she was completely obtuse in the signals she was sending him) and was embarrassed, disappointed and hurt by his mistake. His confession to the baby revealed how overwhelmed he felt. This entire study of emotions seemed like a reflection on the heartache and confusion that is typical of a teen’s journey to understand themselves and the world around them.

How does Crowley know ancient languages? Is he that old? I don’t think demons are granted brilliance when they turn demonic, because the show has a long history of exposing, ridiculing then killing off really stupid bad guys. Is this another clue that Crowley is something other than a smart demon that has risen through the ranks of Hell?

There’s a demonic switchboard operator?

9.06 holding baby 1223
OHHH! I never caught how unbelievably perfect the words of Castiel’s lullaby reflect Cas’ life!!
“Look at what’s happenin’ to me. I can’t believe it myself” – Cas is revealing his own amazement at becoming human, being homeless, finding stability in a minimum-wage job, making friends, and letting go of his former identity.

“Believe it or not, I’m walking on air. I never thought I would be so free.” – For the first time he doesn’t have to worry about angelic duties, saving the world or winning a war for heaven. His largest worry is filling the Slurpee machine.

“Flying away on a wing and a prayer. Who could it be? Believe it or not, it’s just me”. – What better words for an angel?? Foreshadowing that the new, humble Castiel is going to get his wings back and will be able to fly away on a wing and the prayers of humans?
I bow in amazement to Robbie Berens for finding a song that so perfectly characterized Castiel’s situation.

Cas’ speech to the baby again struck me to be like the empathetic consolation of a parent to a teen or young adult who is trying to survive on their own for the first time.
“Nobody told you. Nobody explained. You’re just…shoved out kicking and screaming into this human life, without any idea why any of it feels the way it feels, or why this confusion, which feels like it’s a hair’s breadth from terror or pain. You know, just when you think you do understand, it’ll turn out you’re wrong. You didn’t understand anything at all. Guess that’s just how it is when you’re new at this. You know, it wasn’t that long ago when all I’d need to do to ease your pain was touch you.”
Wow, no deep secret where my head is at right now!

Dean to Cas: “I’m proud of you.” Dean said that to the two most important people in his life this season. Foreshadowing we couldn’t have seen before?

This time I believed and agreed with Sam’s judgment that Crowley was telling the truth when he said the angels couldn’t be put back into heaven. I am surely being influenced by the fact that the rest of the season didn’t focus on the angel tablet solving the angel’s problems. Maybe they’re just teasing this for next season…but then they destroyed the angel tablet, and need a prophet to fix it…I leave you with that thought.

SPN 1660
Gerry Weaver

Overall

My takeaway: As much as the dysfunction between Sam and Dean was a theme this season, so was “I’m proud of you.” Dean said it to Cas in this episode when talking about the way Cas adjusted to being human. It’s a direct contrast to the mocking he was doing when he first saw Cas, telling his friend he’s above working at a gas station. I think Dean’s first words were a reaction to Cas not being involved in the big scale war that is still so much of Dean’s focus.

But Dean doesn’t really devalue a normal life for either its joys or its sorrows, so he’s sincere when he tells Cas he’s proud that Cas is looking for the best and handling the worst as a human.

And in true Supernatural fashion, as Dean is telling Cas to go live a human life, Cas is reviewing all he’s learned this episode and realizing he is still an angel at heart. He spends the first part of the episode experiencing human emotions and the second part of the episode realizing he, like Dean, is still involved in the big picture. Ephraim asks Cas if he’s an angel or a human, because he thinks Cas’s choice to try and live as a human means he’s given up.

He’s mistaken. Cas needed to experience humanity so he could learn empathy, because empathy is not an angel trait. And shepherds need empathy. This was an important episode in Cas’ journey as a leader, because this is when he really knew he wanted to be an angel, even if singing lullabies to babies is a joy. He can keep the joy in his memory and be a better angel for it.

Cas’ journey this season really resonates with Sam’s, as he tries to live a normal life and ignore the cosmic war. Dean even tells Cas to choose to remain human, and he and Sam will fix heaven. But Cas cannot ignore his past or his family, whether Winchester or angel. He cannot live as Steve. He is Cas, the angel who cares too much, who is special.

Sam and Crowley were a joy to watch together. I like the way they play cat and mouse, each warily eying the other and trying to guess the next move. Crowley and the Winchesters know each other well, which in an odd way makes them close. I think Crowley is genuinely fond of the boys, though he would betray them in an instant. This episode reminded me it was really not a huge step for Dean to turn to Crowley or for Crowley to eulogize Dean and mean it. And next season should be really exciting as Sam hunts down Crowley in earnest. I just wish we didn’t know Sam didn’t do this in season 8, even though he suspected Crowley knew what had happened to Dean. Sam had options. He just didn’t take them. That remains a thorn in my side about the story.

And speaking of Sam and Dean, I also loved Sam’s “I should be with you” when he realizes Dean’s on a real case. Even after “The Purge,” Sam never loses this belief. It’s as much of a thread as “I’m proud of you.”

Random Thoughts

I thought when Dean first spoke to Cas in the gas station, that grin was pure Jensen. Not often I see Jensen in an episode rather than Dean. I suspect it’s a remnant of Jensen teasing Misha mercilessly in this scene.

I also thought Cas singing to the baby and the first couple lines in the chair were pure Misha rather than Cas. Adorable Misha, of course. But I didn’t think Cas’s voice came out until part way through the speech in the chair.

Loved Dean both big brothering and mothering Cas to make him successful on his date. “Are you wearing that?” Shades of my teenage!

SPN 0935
Nate Winchester

Overall

This is, in general, a pretty good, solid episode and I really wish it had been 9.03 (or at least this writer had done that one) rather than what we got.  Had this episode (or at least its stronger themes and tighter storytelling) been earlier I think it would have established a stronger foundation for the season as a whole.  For example, Dean’s treatment of Cas in this episode makes sense if you take this episode by itself, otherwise it makes Dean look inconsistently moody.  Other indications this isn’t quite Dean in this episode?  The medic angel doesn’t zero in on what has traditionally been our lovable ball of self-loathing and pain.  Seriously, one would think zeroing in on Cas’ pain with Dean nearby would be like trying to pick out a tuba playing during a monster truck rally.

Some moments SEEM like they’re setting up for later story reveals but if you look at it closely, it’s like praising a marksman for hitting a target with a grenade – the strokes are broad or generic enough they can’t help but “hit”.  All in all looking back through it, the season starts to take on the feeling of the writers at war with each other – or at least a struggle between those trying to bring up the quality against those dragging it down.

Random Thoughts

I still don't get why they keep the angel's face hidden.

Cas' alias is "Steve"? Hmm... who had 2 thumbs & said he should pick that name for his martyr complex? #thisguy

Oh Kevin... you should have become the new Bobby full time. 

I give the props department kudos for what they did with the "exploding" victims and the set.

I'm surprised this guy didn't wipe out most of the population of tween girls.

And we're back with the richest source of Destiel fuel not seen since S5.

SERIOUSLY Dean & Cas' scene is performed like 9.03 [“I’m No Angel”] never happened. One wonders if Berens was giving the metaphorical finger to BB&ERL [Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming, the writers for 9.03].

How did Crowley learn a dead language when he was alive in the 1700s?

Stupid reaper plot mentioned - take a drink. I mean seriously you act like nothing else happened in 9.03, why mention the worst part of it?

But the set dressing guys DID mess up in not decorating the grass next to the bus. :(

It's kind of weird the medic angel just went right to killing instead of TRYING to heal people.

I'm impressed that recently arrived angels have mastered driving.

Seriously I hope they sterilized those needles in the bunker. It'd be darkly funny to see a hunter die to staph instead of ghost.

Did they really script the @mishacollins scene with the baby or did they just let him improvise?

"It's a fever."  How about YOU HEAL THE BABY YOU [angelic] MEDIC!"

"Oops, your hand is broken. Here let me heal that."

Doubling Crowley's soul harvest... that makes one wonder in consideration of 9.17 [“Mother’s Little Helper”].

I'm still impressed Cas & Dean got the house cleaned up and the body buried before Mom got home. Seeing that would have brought in some of the comedy this season really needed.

**

I’m going to end our observations by offering the first comment on the article. I had so many of the same thoughts as Nate! The name Steve, the RitZien not healing the feverish baby, the clean house and so many others! I’m glad he mentioned them, though, instead of me. Gave me a great, long laugh this morning when I read them! How about you?

Dialog transcripts courtesy of www.superwiki.com.
Screencaps courtesy of www.homeofthenutty.com.

Comments  

njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-07-02 19:49
This was a good episode, enjoyed seeing the human side of Castiel. Liked how they mixed up the characters in this episode, having Sam spend time with Kevin and Crowley. The Rit Zien, or Pepto Bismol making angels, are a good example of expanding the lore in a sensible manner without taking a crap all over existing canon.
eilf
# eilf 2014-07-03 00:09
I liked this episode, though I felt so bad for Cas when he was misunderstandin g his boss - who I don't really believe made any sort of mistake. She knew what she was up to. Cas really got to see the worst side of women (both human and angel) while he was human didn't he? Did he meet any women that were nice to him, and didn't have ulterior motives?
Quote:
The medic angel doesn’t zero in on what has traditionally been our lovable ball of self-loathing and pain. Seriously, one would think zeroing in on Cas’ pain with Dean nearby would be like trying to pick out a tuba playing during a monster truck rally.
That is a really good point! I have no answer to it, but now that you mention it ...
Cas with the baby is the sweetest thing and his chat with it (him?) ... aw! And Dean playing at dad or doting uncle (or whatever doesn't have the D-word implicit in it) is cute. 'Cool friend of nerdy guy' is really what it actually was but as we all know guys don't have friends and can't just be FRIENDS, so it must be something else ...

I wish that Cas had had more chance to be human and do human things. I would like to see maybe Cas as an angel still trying to work a job as a human. Maybe the owner of some weird and wonderful bookstore (with the sorts of books Metatron hasn't gotten around to reading yet because he is still stuck on 'How to win friends and influence people' or whatever...) that always has angel feathers in stock.

The crazy angel really did seem to be badly broken. And way too powerful. It would be interesting to see how an unbroken version makes his decisions.

Groan ... I just got the 'Steve' thing ... ok writers I kinda have to agree with the accusations that are being aimed at you (though I don't agree with any of them that have been thrown at the actors).

EDIT: this one is edited for the same reasons as below. I don't want to derail the conversation about the episode.
Vince
# Vince 2014-07-03 00:12
What's the Steve thing?
eilf
# eilf 2014-07-03 00:35
Ok I have tried to leave this alone and I can't. I have probably read way to much into this name business ( and if I have I am introducing fanon where there isn't any). Also my original answer, in a genuine attempt to be tactful, is just completely ridiculous and I am embarrassed about it :P

If you didn't see the original comment it doesn't matter. Vince's comment below stands on its own, and he is perfectly right that it is a very common name.
Vince
# Vince 2014-07-03 00:38
Or the writer has a friend/relative named Steve. And Robert Berens is gay, so who knows what his reasons were for naming Cas Steve.
eilf
# eilf 2014-07-03 00:42
Or yes it could be that too. I am totally for that as a theory. But they can't keep messing around with this. It means that Castiel never actually has a storyline that people are interested in discussing. And Dean's storyline keeps getting derailed.
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-07-03 23:15
I don't know about the others, but I was referring to ("http://www.th ewinchesterfami lybusiness.com/ article-archive s/season-nine/1 8191-how-i-m-no -angel-could-ha ve-been-divine" ) the famous first martyr of Christianity (Stephen) and how much of a martyr Cas was feeling at the time would be an explanation for why he chose the name.
eilf
# eilf 2014-07-04 10:22
Great, I have never been so happy to be wrong about anything. I really like this writer's style for the most part, and I think he is a great addition to the writing staff, and I am really done with the particular subject so it annoyed me to think that they were sticking in easter eggs.

I have to say though that part, actually MOST (cause I can't deal with unsolved puzzles) of what got me thinking along these lines is the fact that the #thisguy link, if you click on it, leads to a bunch of really random pictures of half naked guys on Twitter. Prior to that I hadn't given Cas's name the remotest thought, it just made sense that he would pick either a boring name or the equivalent of 'Ford Prefect'. It was what puzzled me and drew me to that conclusion. if it had led to a wikipedia article about St Stephen (for example) that would have been slightly more useful perhaps? Or the link you just gave here ....
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-07-07 14:49
Quote:
I have to say though that part, actually MOST (cause I can't deal with unsolved puzzles) of what got me thinking along these lines is the fact that the #thisguy link, if you click on it, leads to a bunch of really random pictures of half naked guys on Twitter. Prior to that I hadn't given Cas's name the remotest thought, it just made sense that he would pick either a boring name or the equivalent of 'Ford Prefect'. It was what puzzled me and drew me to that conclusion. if it had led to a wikipedia article about St Stephen (for example) that would have been slightly more useful perhaps? Or the link you just gave here ....
Ah sorry about the link thing, we'll work on that in the future. I was using the hashtag as a reference to an old joke:
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=this%20guy&defid=2089175
http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/3p37/

Actually I kind of wish Cas had went with the name "Bob". Heh, Bob the angel.
eilf
# eilf 2014-07-07 16:02
Heh, no worries :D confusion all around I wish I had something scintillating and pithy to say about the episode now having gone through all this but ...

Erm ... no ... got nothing .... Crowley's phonecall was hilarious! I am glad that he and Abbadon got some demonish interaction, that was good.

Of course Cas could have gone with Clarence ...
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-07-03 11:29
LOL. When I first read your comment about the accusations aimed at the writers, I thought you meant the WFB writers, and I was like "What? What are we accused of??" Then I realized you meant the SPN writers. Had to laugh at myself!
...and thanks for the deleted piece. I didn't read it but the conversation could have gone very sideways very fast! Left alone, to me it is worth a nice grin.
eilf
# eilf 2014-07-03 11:52
LOL Honestly why would anyone have a problem with the WFB writers? I should have left what I said at the first comment. I was trying to work out how to remove it without leaving Vince hanging, took me a while ...
I really was trying to look at the point of view of a Cas episode and talk about Cas-plot! :)

*shutting up now, for a bit*
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2014-07-03 06:05
It is nice to read what your intake is when you watch on this episodes again and if you see them differently. I haven't been writing a while for different reasons. (In the middle of re-watch, vacation and over all peaceful time) but I still read the articles.

I liked this episode. I really didn't like Dean to toss Cass out in the earlier episode. I see Cass already part of the boys family. In this episode we saw he hated what he had to do and I loved the part where he acted like dad/big brother to Cass. Also I still saw and felt how Cass was hurt about Dean sending him away. He had no idea why and probably was thinking in and out what he had done wrong. And also + to Sam as he really wanted Cass to stay in the bunker.

For me it is funny when people see something in a name of a character or that something written against the fans on the dialogue. Not going to go more to it as above reasons but I didn't think nothing from the name. It was just a name like I didn't regard the other dialogue also not what some saw. And that is fine by me. It depends on people's point of views that can differ. :)

Like in this episode and many others I am so glad that we have gotten two more regular characters. Misha and Mark has really earned their places. All series need to evolve and change and if we get actors this talented as regulars and quest actors we are blessed. (Hopefully not killing the quest stars though) I love the brothers but I also have grown to love the other characters that come my way... Except Dick... I know he was a good baddie but that character really rubbed me in the wrong way and most of all because I disliked Leviathans...

But the revelations from an episode like Cass and what you noticed on his dialogue. I hadn't noticed how fitting it was for his own story. Also for some reason I really enjoy Sam's and Crowley's cat and mouse game and Crowley pushing his buttons. Makes you wonder if Crowley crossed the line for Sam and the king of hell should run for his life now. I think all four actors have really good chemistry with one another and even if I am Dean leaning fan I still love the others too.

What comes to the mood and as we know Sam is possessed (Dean and us know about it) still the mood is so much lighter and even though Gad takes control on Sam on some points the mood is still happy. The brothers talk and we have Kevin! So it is really true that the last part of the season turned really grim.

The writers write things in different ways. I think we can see that and some is seen more clearly than others. But like with movies I never cared who wrote them. Hardly knew the director's name nor the producer's. The story and what it was about made me watch it. But that is just me and how I roll. This is probably the first series I even know who has written it because the names have been written on this site. Can't connect the episodes to the writers though. :)

By last thought... I always got chills to my spine when Crowley had the weird obsession to Kevin... Did he do that just for mental torture or because the human feelings? I thought that interaction was always... well creepy...

- Lilah
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-07-03 11:37
Quote:
By last thought... I always got chills to my spine when Crowley had the weird obsession to Kevin... Did he do that just for mental torture or because the human feelings? I thought that interaction was always... well creepy...
When the episode first aired, I had many different theories about Crowley wanting Kevin's blood, like getting a prophet's powers or messing with Kevin's mind. After seeing the whole addiction storyline, though, I now believe the request was simply what Crowley said - he wanted a different "flavor". I believe we were being given a peak at his addiction, nothing more.
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2014-07-03 12:53
I don't know. Maybe the weird interest to Kevin from Crowley is in my head. In a way Crowley has had interest in all of the good guys... In the same weird way. Crowley can push the buttons very easily and make us suspect everything he does or doesn't do. Who knows. :D

- Lilah
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2014-07-06 15:16
I am enjoying your looks back in these Season 9 episodes as we rewatch them, now knowing what the end result will be. These earlier episodes are enjoyable to watch again, as we do still see a more lighthearted Dean and Sam working together. I really miss those days, desperately. It was also fun to witness a little of Castiel's journey as a human. I do wish we could have seen a little bit more of this as he gained greater insight with empathy and what all goes on with humanity itself. I enjoyed the insights that have been provided as far as his journey is concerned. And the Dean/Cas scenes are pure gold.

I found the comments intriguing about the SPN writers at war with themselves. With a season as disjointed as S9 was, I can truly see that. I hope S10 will bring a little more harmony to the show, and by that I need and want harmony with Dean and Sam. I can't take too much more of their disharmony. I also hope we see fewer episodes penned by BB&ERL.
mary9930
# mary9930 2014-07-08 21:19
I love when Cas talks to the baby. Seeing the world through an infant's eyes gave me a whole new perspective. Then you add in teenage angst. We really should congratulate ourselves for every stage of life we successfully maneuver.

As a self avowed angel junkie, I saw a promise of more understanding of the angel psyche. Ephraim reminded me of the misguided angels of seasons 4 & 5. You could imagine him believing he was following God's wishes. Angles shouldn't be pointless & ridiculous. So much wasted opportunity :(